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Posts tagged ‘marshes’

Juvenile Glossy Ibis

 

This young Glossy Ibis was spotted a couple of weeks ago feeding in the shallows of a small pond near a golf course in the Fenney neighborhood of The Villages, FL.  The adult Glossy Ibis is a rich mahogany brown tending more toward a burgundy sheen on its feathers, while the juvenile is a plain matt brown color with a few tiny streaks of lighter feathers.

The Glossy Ibis feed mostly on aquatic snails and worms with occasional aquatic insects as well.  There are a lot of tasty Apple Snails in our area which are a delight for these wading birds!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

 

These Herons Are Handsome Wading Birds!

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron

Great Blue Herons, a Green Heron, Little Blue Heron, a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron, and a Tri-colored Heron are some of the most prominent Herons here in the United States.  I am happy to be able to see many of these birds here in Central Florida fairly often.  The Black-crowned Night Heron was spotted at Lake Apopka, and the others here in The Villages, FL.

These wading birds primarily eat fish, frogs, crayfish, aquatic snails, aquatic insects, salt water crabs, ducklings, bird eggs, and tender small turtles.  All are great at flying.

The herons walk along the shoreline of lakes, ponds, rivers, and even the ocean, and try to spear their prey for a meal.  The birds tend to feed early in the morning and from late afternoon into early evening hours. Herons tend to spend the day by themselves or in small numbers.  They roost in a larger flock in tall trees like Cypress, Pine and Oaks.   I love spending time outside observing the herons!  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

Great Blue Heron

Tri-colored Heron

Green Heron

 

Great Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

A Somewhat Hidden American Purple Gallinule

This American Purple Gallinule was hunkered down among the reeds on the shoreline of Lake Griffin at the Bourlay Nature Park in Leesburg, Florida on April 19, 2018 at about 6:00pm.  I spotted the bird because it got spooked by the presence of an American Alligator circling around in the shallows of the lake near where the gallinule was hidden.

The Purple Gallinule that I photographed is a male and it sure is handsome with bright blue and purple feathers, a red-orange fleshy area over its beak, and bright yellow legs and feet.  The Purple Gallinule resembles the Common Moorhens and the Common Coots.  The Purple Gallinules often are spotted in shallow waters on the shoreline of lakes, striding around on top of lily pads and reed mats.  It has long thin toes which help it stay balanced on tippy floating leaves.  By the way, this is only the second Purple Gallinule I have ever spotted.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.  Enjoy!

Almost Wordless Wednesday: American Alligator

This  young alligator was seen in The Villages, FL at a golf course pond.  Alligators are common in Florida in fresh water marshes, ponds, and lakes.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

Double-Crested Cormorants

Double Crested Cormorants are frequently here on our ponds and lakes in the winter months here in The Villages, Florida.  These birds enjoy the warm weather quite a lot and around ponds, lakes, rivers, and both fresh and salt water marsh-lands.  Some of these cormorants are natives here but many are migrants from places north of us.  I also have spotted Double-Crested Cormorants at marina docks on the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico at Cedar Key here in Florida.

These water birds dive for fish, frogs, baby alligators, tender soft-shelled turtles and larger aquatic insects and aquatic mollusks.  At times, Double-crested Cormorants are mixed in near the White Pelicans here.  The Double-Crested Cormorants are similar in looks to the slightly smaller Anhinga birds.  The Anhingas have a straight bill while there is a downward hook to the tip of the bill on the Double-Crested Cormorants.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

Diving for a bit of food

Songbirds and Wading Birds

Male Boat-tailed Grackle

Eastern Bluebirds, a Boat-tailed Grackle, a Tufted Titmouse, a lovely pair of Sandhill Cranes and a lot of White Ibis, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Anhingas were all spotted here in The Villages, FL in the last couple of days.

I took the photo of the roosting birds on Morse Blvd. just below Rio Grande, on Monday 2/19/18,  at twilight.  That roosting area was active for years, and then was abandoned for the last year.  This marshland is once again wet, so hundreds of wading birds such as ibis, egrets, herons, and anhingas, are back every night to rest!

I took the photos of the songbirds, here in my neighborhood.  The weather has been fine so the birds have been out and about much more!  The photograph of the Sandhill Cranes was taken just off of Morse Blvd. along CR 466 along the multi-modal path.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.

White Ibis Heading to the Roost

Female Eastern Bluebird

Sandhill Cranes

 

 

 

 

 

Tufted titmouse on a Palm

White Ibis

The Roost

Common Moorhens and Common Coots

A Pair of Common Moorhens

Both the Common Moorhens and the Common Coots are here in The Villages, FL during the winter months.  We also have moorhens here all year long but do have many more around in the winter.

Common Moorhens show different coloring between the genders while mostly the coots are just a charcoal black.  Moorhen drakes are also charcoal while the hens are a brown color.  Moorhens have a fleshy red growth on their faces and the coots have a white growth.  Both types are members of the Rail family of water birds.  Both look like a cross between a chicken and a duck.  Moorhens and coots live in marshes, lakes, ponds, and slow streams.  The coots and moorhens are good at flight.  The coots form “Rafts” which are huge numbers of birds paddling together on a body of water.  Coots are more flock birds while the Moorhens are often in pairs or small groups.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.  Enjoy!

Common Coot

A Raft of Common Coots

A Little Blue Heron and Two Tri-colored Herons

Tri-colored Heron

This Little Blue Heron was spotted at a small pond near Morse and CR-466 in The Villages, FL.  I also saw two Tri-colored Herons on Lake Paradise also in The Villages.  Both types of these herons are occasionally seen here in The Villages on several lakes and ponds here.  I believe the Little Blue Heron is one that probably lives in the medium-sized nearby Lake Sumter and the freshwater marshlands around that lake.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo.  Enjoy!

Tri-colored Heron

Tri-colored Heron with Great Egret

Little Blue Heron

Great Egrets

 

These Great Egrets were spotted in The Villages, Florida at El Santiago Golf Pond, Silver Lake Recreation Center Pond, and Lake Paradise near Schwartz Park and Boone Park.  I took these pictures this past weekend.  Some of the areas are harder to get to still due to minor flooding, but more areas are opening up once again.

The Great Egrets eat small fish, frogs, turtles, baby alligators, mice, lizards, baby birds, and snakes (and other small critters).  They fish with their long sharp yellow bills and spear their prey.  These birds are mostly wading birds but they do hunt on land in shrubbery and on lawns at times.  Great Egrets are white with yellow bills, black legs and black feet.  They are among the tallest of the egrets.   Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

 

 

I’ve Got The Blues!

At El Santiago Golf Course Pond, The Villages, FL

At Mallory Hill Golf Course Pond, The Villages, FL

Great Blue Herons, that is!  Ha!  I have spotted a few Great Blue Herons around the community’s ponds in the last few days and have enjoyed photographing these rather majestic wading birds.

The Great Blue Herons eat fish, frogs, turtles, baby alligators, snails, worms, mice, small snakes, lizards, and larger insects.  We have had a lot of rain this past week, so the hunting for worms in lawns around the lakes and ponds is particularly easy for the wading birds at the moment.  By the way, it is pretty unusual to see a Great Blue Heron on a lawn other than immediately at water’s edge.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.  Enjoy!

Near Lake Sumter Landing, The Villages, FL

At Schwartz Park on Lake Paradise in The Villages, FL

 

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